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Issue 1084

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CALVIN RICHARDSON: KEEPING THAT SOULFUL SOUND ALIVE!

Calvin Richardson
Calvin Richardson

From the time he stepped onto the music scene in 1999 with the release of his debut album âCountry Boy,â North Carolinian Calvin Richardson has kept the faith as a modern day soul man.

Listening to his version of the Bobby Womack classic âI Wish He Didnât Trust Me So Muchâ on that LP, it was evident that Calvin was committed to carrying on the tradition of Womack and his compadres. But the music biz being what it is (especially since the beginning of this decade), Calvin had his fair share of struggles to be heard: a second album for Universal wasnât released although after a duet with Angie Stone on the song âMore Than A Womanâ (on her âMahogany Soulâ set), Calvin did snag a deal with Disney-owned Hollywood Records â not known as a bastion for R&B and soul music, we might add!

The resultant 2003 album â2:35PMâ (named after the time of birth of one of his children) received significant sales and the word began to spread. Hope was high that he could establish a niche for himself as a bonafide young torch-carrier for soul music. He began working with Kenny âBabyfaceâ Edmonds on a follow up but once again music biz politics intervened and in 2006, Calvin found himself without a new recording home. He was in no rush to sign a deal, as he explains: âAfter Hollywood, I decided to take time off. I wanted to spend time with my kids and live my life without music for a while. A year or so later, I was checking the MySpace page that someone had created for me and people were requesting me to come back with a new record. I realized I had a base out there, waiting for me and it was a great feeling! Even though I havenât sold a million records, there were a whole lot of people who showed they love what I do and appreciate what I do and that was what I realized from all those MySpace comments.â

Calvin added some new music to the site and to his own website including the track âThere Goes My Baby.â Lo and behold, Brit soul music fans starting downloading the song and before he knew it, Calvin was making the first of seven trips to the UK within the last few years, developing a real following. Back Stateside, another MySpace connection alerted him that Randall Grass of Shanachie Records was trying to reach him: âI wasnât looking for a record label,â Calvin states. âThey were looking for me and when I spoke with Randall, he told me that he had been following my career and they were interested in doing something with meâ¦â

Fast forward to November, 2007: âThere was a check in my bank account from Shanachie and I was ready to go. I told them I wanted to do my thing and this is the first time Iâm having that sort of freedom with a record company,â Calvin notes. âThis is the first record Iâve done that is completely me. I cut it right here in Charlotte, North Carolina which is home for me. There was a good vibe: I created my atmosphere and space and I wasnât on the clock. I was free to do what I wanted to do.â

What Calvin wanted to do was, he explains, âgive the world me. On my previous albums, I had two or three songs. I wrote all the songs for the album. I went back and listened to old school music by Betty Wright, Curtis Mayfield, Aretha. I got a vibe from those old records and that put me in the right frame of mind and established the direction of the sound for the albumâ¦â

Issued on his own NuMo Records through Shanachie, Calvinâs âWhen Love Comesâ begins fulfilling on the promise he showed on his first two albums. One listen and itâs obvious that he put his heart and soul into it; the first single, âSang No Moreâ in particular (with its almost doo-wop-like flavor) places Calvin back in the ring as an R&B contender. âWith this album, I feel like Iâm turning a page, turning a corner,â he concludes. âIâm not doing what everyone else is doing, doing something thatâs different and there are those out there who âget itâ and appreciate it.â Spoken like a true soul man!
Words DAVID NATHAN

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